A 50th birthday usually merits a big party, which is why the University of Miami is hosting a series of celebratory events this fall to recognize the campus-wide impact of the Richter Library, which opened in 1962.
“One of the requisites for a university is to have a proper library in which students can obtain books and have a place to study,” said Esperanza Bravo de Varona, who holds an endowed chair at the library’s Cuban Heritage Collection and has been working at Richter for 45 years.
The library was named for the late Otto G. Richter, who was one of the building’s principal benefactors.
Though the official anniversary of Richter’s opening was June 10, the celebrations will be carried out through the end of the fall semester. The events will touch on topics that include theater, music and poetry.
One of the ongoing exhibitions is “A Theatrical Thunderbolt: Cuban Playwright Virgilio Piñera in His Centenary.” The exhibit pays homage to one of Latin America’s most important playwrights on the 100th anniversary of Piñera’s birth. It is on display on the second floor of the library.
The “Do Not Go Gentle: Poetry of Protest” exhibition explores important 20th- and 21st-century protest themes through musical scores, contemporary zines, artists’ books and poems by celebrated protest writers.
“Cage3: Cage Centennial Celebration” spotlights the work of John Cage, one of the foremost pioneers of avant-garde music in the mid-20th century. It can be seen at the Weeks Music Library.
The library has been supporting research, scholarship and discovery since it was dedicated by then-UM President Jay Pearson. At that time, the cost of the library was about $3 million.
Between 1999 and 2003, the university carried out major renovations to the library to reflect advances in the university’s academic and research agendas.
The Richter Library has nine floors, each with a designated used. New establishments such as the Starbucks, conference rooms, study rooms, a digital media lab and other facilities were incorporated to provide students, faculty and alumni a place to sit and study.
The library has a collection of more than 3 million books in print and online and access to more than 300 electronic databases.
“Today, the library offers students and researchers one of the most comprehensive information resources in the Southeast and continues to build its print, multimedia, and networked information resources at a robust pace,” said Jessica Delgado, director of communications at the library, who is in charge of organizing events for the 50th anniversary celebration.
Freshman Carolina González , an advertising major, said she is thrilled with the many possibilities and events offered by the library.
“I’ve been seeing the 50-year anniversary [banners] everywhere around campus,” González said. “The library is a great place to find resources and I’m looking forward to attend the events held for this celebration.”